'If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all'

How would you translate this? It's alot more complex than what I'm used to. My guess would be:

'Wenn du hast nichts nett zu sagen, sag nichts!'

But that sounds awkward, and is 'nett' even the right word to use?

I came across this phrase in an X-men comic book. It was in plain English but she said it to Kurt (a German-speaking superhero that I believe comes from Bavaria) and I was wondering how you could say this in German? She asked him 'Verstehen?' right after she said it so I guess she has learned some German from him.
  • brian

    Senior Member
    AmE (New Orleans)

    Wenn man nichts Nettes zu sagen hat, dann soll man gar nichts sagen.
    Wenn du nichts Nettes zu sagen hast, dann sollst du gar nichts sagen.


    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I would say "sollte/solltest" and not "soll/sollst."

    It's also possible to just use the imperative as in English:

    "Wenn Du nichts Nettes zu sagen hast, sag lieber gar nichts!"

    (It's more idiomatic with "lieber.")
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